Jim Denison: How Can We Know Jesus is Truly the Son of God?

Manger with hay and swaddling clothes in old stable

My favorite Christmas card pictures Genghis Khan, Hitler, Napoleon, and other monarchs and tyrants beneath the words, “History is filled with men who would be gods.”

Inside the card, next to a depiction of Christ in his manger, it adds, “But only one God who would be man.”

Is there evidence that the Christ of Christmas is really the divine Son of God?

The Bible says that he is, of course.

According to the New Testament, Jesus walked on water and calmed stormy seas, healed the sick and raised the dead. But all religions have their holy books. Just because they believe something doesn’t make it true.

Here’s why I’m convinced that Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God. It all hinges on an event Christians call the “resurrection.”

How can we believe those who first experienced Jesus’ resurrection?

We know from ancient historians Tacitus and Thallus the Samaritan that Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilate. According to Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, the first Christians believed that he rose from the dead on Easter Sunday morning.

How can we know if they were right?

David Hume was an eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher, known today as the “Father of Skepticism.” In An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, he set out six criteria by which we should judge those who claim to have witnessed a miracle. They should be:

  • numerous
  • intelligent
  • educated
  • of unquestioned integrity
  • willing to undergo severe loss if proven wrong
  • and their claims should be easily provable.

I think his standards are an excellent way to judge those who say they witnessed a miracle.

How do the eyewitnesses of the risen Christ fare by these criteria?

  • They were numerous: over five hundred saw the resurrected Lord (1 Corinthians 15:6).
  • They were intelligent: the literature they produced is the most-published book in history.
  • They were well-educated: Paul was trained by Gamaliel, the finest scholar in Judaism (Acts 22:3).
  • They were men and women of unquestioned integrity.
  • They were clearly willing to undergo severe loss, as proven by their willingness to die for the Christ they proclaimed.
  • And their claims were easily validated, as Jesus’ empty tomb was available to anyone who wanted to visit it (cf. Acts 26:26, “this thing was not done in a corner”).

So the witnesses were credible. What about the resurrection they proclaimed?

How can we believe the resurrection truly happened?

As we have seen, it is a fact of history that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and buried, and that on the third day his tomb was found empty. Ever since, skeptics have struggled to explain that empty tomb and the changed lives of his followers.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jim Denison